Attitudes Towards Student Prostitution

Whether it’s for or against, everybody has an opinion on the subject of student prositution.

On Twitter the attitude, particularly among younger persons and students, seems to be one of mockery, joking over lack of money and a need to sleep with others for money because there’s no potential alternative.

Twitter search for 'student prostitution'

Whereas in the comment sections on an article on the Mail Online regarding the issues, the attitude is generally one of digust and incredulity.

Comments on a feature article commenting on the rise in student prostitution as found in the Daily Telegraph

Although these comments are only a small sample of the opinions available and expressed and cannot be taken to be wholly representative of Great Britain or even of Daily Mail readers and Twitter users, from these you can see there would appear to be an obvious divide between the younger and older generation with one seeing it as a form of myth and the other as an ‘easy way out’ often citing the excuse of how men are able to pay for their education without resorting to such practices.

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Are students aware of the responsibilities involved?

Gallery

Last week, Donna Asutaits was sent to jail after failing to pay taxes on earnings of over £300,000 ove the course of her career as a prostitute. A career which she began as a student in order to pay for her … Continue reading

Living With a Student Prostitute

I previously carried out a survey at the Birmingham City University campus that revealed 23 students out of 100 knew a student sex worker. One of the students who took part in this survey and was willing to talk anonymously about her personal experiences living in Halls with a student escort.

What was it like living with a student sex worker?

I was very uncomfortable with it, and often would talk to her about giving it up. She would always come to my room and tell me if she was going out on a job and tell an approx time she would be home.

Did you or any one else ever discuss with her the option to stop?

I did ask her to stop and I believe her friends from home that knew did ask her to stop too. Her family didn’t know anything.  This was very uncomfortable for me, I wanted to help her but I had to support myself financially and couldn’t afford to support her too.

What were her reasons for having to work in the sex industry?

She said she had no other options due to problems with her family and money, she commented that she had attempted to get a regular job but had failed.

Did any problems arise from living with someone in that nature of work?

No immediate problems, however she did come in and out of the flat at early hours in the morning and would often stink our communal area out by smoking weed.

What were her reasons for resorting to prostitution? 

She had no money, and would often have no food to eat. Some of her family members would ask to borrow money from her and she often had unpaid bills. She would often buy drugs and she said she had no other options for a job as escorting gave her large sums of money immediately.

Did she ever express how the act of prostitution made her feel?

She commented that she would feel emotionless and numb during the actual intercourse and would feel dirty when she returned home. She would always shower afterwards.

Was she open about her profession?

It was only me and a few of her close friends that knew about it, however when intoxicated she was quite open with the subject.

Did you ever think of student prostitution as commonplace before this experience? Has this opinion changed?

It is something that you hear about or read in magazines but never thought I would encounter the situation personally. Even after the experience I’d say that prostitution wasn’t commonplace for students.

Have your opinions on sex work in regards to student living and otherwise changed since this experience?

I have never had a positive opinion of the sex work industry and this has only reconfirmed my opinions of it. It is something I would never resort to. I feel that if you were in that much of a financial struggle you should talk to your parents or go to the student union advice centre and get some financial advice. As a second year student, I haven’t struggled with getting a regular job at all and although the money isn’t instant is much better than degrading yourself to prostitution.

By Daniella Dixon-Cannon

Student Sex Workers Come Forward as the Issue Rises

Taking us back over a year ago, I want to draw our attention to the Student Solidarity Trust Report (SST). This report was in regards to a study carried out by Professor Rudo Gaidzanwa and Dr Charity Manyeruke.

The study looked into the lives of female students at the University of Zimbabwe which concluded that students had to resort to prostitution due to desperation.

They were exploited by gardeners who promised them cheaper or free accommodation if they solicited sex, put into a position where they had no means of attending classes unless they made these choices.

It would appear that students having no other option but to resort to sex work is an predicament vacant from western society. Or is it?

According to The National Student’s Union, a growing number of students are turning to prostitution in the UK. The Daily Echo reports that students in Southampton are turning to “sugar daddy” websites to fund their education.

Websites like SeekingArrangement offer young women the opportunity to get paid thousands of pounds to go on dates with rich, older men or “sugar daddies”. The website reports that 35% of its UK members are now students.

Graduate and former “sugar baby” says, speaking to The Daily Echo, “I was extremely reluctant” but made the decision to join SeekingArrangment because she “had no chance of paying any of the debt back in the short term while I tried to forge a stable career for myself.”

We were boyfriend and girlfriend but I was paid £2,500 a month, which was more than enough to cover my bills while I pursued my career in film.

Is this the kind of decision you’re forced to make, are they being exploited like the women in Zimbabwe? UK organisaton, Women’s Support Project thinks so,

We should be concerned about the potential for abuse and exploitation which comes with this combination of money and economic vulnerability.”

According to Wales Online, recent research shows that the number of students in Wales turning to the sex industry for money is also growing.

Dr Teele Sanders and Rosie Campbell carried out the research report when the Cardiff City Council were urged to examine the conditions that students may have been working at, such as adult entertainment clubs.

The report found that over a third of dancers were students. According to the Prostitutes Collective, the number of calls made by students had significantly increased and they’re blaming rising tuition fees and the Cardiff City Council research complies with this.

An academic project due to start next month, will survey students who have turned to the sex industry as a means of paying tuition fees and living costs. In light of this, Madame Becky Adams has come forward to Wales Online.

Adams ran brothels for two decades, and say that a site for first-time escorts owned by a friend has seen interest soar. Its not only students who they’ve seen resorting to sex work, but women from all walks of life.

Dr Tracey Sagar and her colleague Debbie Jones from the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice at Swanswea University has also been carrying out long-term research into the field.

Their research seems to corroborate the current trend amongst students, as is showed that there is an increasing amount of men and women in Cardiff turning to prostitution as a career choice.

By Daniella Dixon-Cannon

‘World Laws and Causes of Prostitution.’

Image

  Green– Prostitution legal and regulated

  Blue– Prostitution legal, but not regulated; brothels are illegal;

  Red– Prostitution illegal

  Peach– No data

Prostitution as we have come to understand it in the course of this investigation has many views and perspectives from the religious to the social. In this post we shall reveal the causes of prostitution exploring the differences and the legislation that has been put in place regarding it in countries around the world.

Countries all over the world have different cultures, beliefs and ways of life and it helps to learn and appreciate these differences to see how the world operates as a whole. As already briefly pointed out in previous blog posts prostitution here in the UK is legal to a certain extent, as long as there are no ‘pimps’ involved and the lead cause of student prostitution is popularly to fund a life style. However it gets interesting when one learns the causes of prostitution in other countries in the world because the differences reveal how different people are in different places.

The first example is Cuba. According to Canadian photo-journalist Andrew Lindy in his video documentary, ‘Cuba Prostitution Documentary’, prostitution in Cuba is not frowned upon but rather is seen as normal transaction between two or more people. He further explains that the Cubans are a very nice people and that prostitution in Cuba is caused by poverty. Very few people can afford to go to school and there are very little to no jobs in the country. Hence some women use prostitution to fund their school fees which was believed at first to be the same reason student prostitution was beginning in the UK.

In America however prostitution is illegal in 49 of 50 states and is usually classified as a misdemeanour. Nevada is the only state that allows licensed brothels. The main cause of prostitution similar to the UK is most to fund a lifestyle but in some cases involves trafficking, drug addiction and surprisingly poverty. These two countries so far show that there are other underlying themes behind it and reveal that the cause of student prostitution can’t just be attributed to one sole cause.

In African the main story is similar to that in Cuba, many African countries have the lead cause to be poverty. Prostitution in Africa is described as a means to survive with no cases of it being a way to fund a lifestyle. In South Africa it has been illegal since 1957 however in 2010 in connection to the World Cup there were calls for it to be legalised and legislated as a way to control the spread of HIV and AIDS. This faced a lot of opposition as prostitution in most parts of Africa is stigmatised.

There are very few countries in Africa were prostitution is legal, like in Cote D’ivoire where the exchange of money for sex is allowed according to Article 634 of the Ethiopian Penal Code.Nigeria is also one of these few countries where it is legal in fact a bill was passed by Deputy-vice President Ike Ekweremadu however though legal or not, prostitution in Africa is mainly caused by poverty is the reason why Africa has the highest percentage of the AIDS disease.

In Asia it varies because there is a difference in terms of law and practice. The law disapproves it but in practices it is tolerated but socially frowned upon. A key point to note is that there is a double standard as men are allowed to acquire to services of a prostitute but the prostitutes themselves are stigmatised. The main cause is poverty but there are fewer cases of it in Asia than in Africa.

Prostitution is a touchy issue which when looked at from a world stand point we can still see the stigma associated with it. Though the causes of it worldwide may vary one thing remains the same, prostitution has been there for a long time and seems like it is not going anywhere anytime soon. The reason why is not quite clear perhaps it is in the human psychology where the answer lays. Please do let us know you views by commenting below or alternatively emailing us at investigatestudentprostitution@gmail.com

The misleading figures in the sex industry

Lauren York, writing for Data Journalism Blog, has exposed some of the truths behind the misleading figures that lie within the sex trade, particularly in the trafficking of women.

Echoing this failure to supply factual data, representations of student prostitution in the newspapers following the uproar after 5th year medical student, Jodi Dixon’s piece in the British Medical Journal saw claims of numerous weak teens being forced into the sordid industry, whereas further investigations have shown a more positive outlook.

However, York notes that this occurrence is not irregular as unsupported claims of numbers related to the sex industry are often found within the media, and these can be misleading and often damaging.

Additionally, the piece offers “a great example of what can happen when people assume other people’s figures are correct and quote them, or an exaggerated version of them as fact.”

 DJB’s “story of data done badly

Flow chart of the incorrect figures regarding sex trafficking

Read the full story here.

Do you have any experience of data being misleading about the reality of the sex industry? Let us know on investigatestudentprostitution@gmail.com or comment below with your thoughts.

Student prostitution: funding a lifestyle

When confronted with the primary concern around student prostitutiondid you feel forced into the industry?” Louisa* replies firmly, “absolutely not”.

The idea of students turning to sex work often conjures up images of late-teens to twenty-something year olds struggling to get by during their education and as a last resort they turn unwillingly to a field of work that is judged and scrutinised for its dangers and controversial nature. But, Louisa isn’t your typical student working in prostitution.

Louisa studied BA Health & Social Sciences; however, she breaks the mould as being in her thirties makes Louisa a mature student. Although older than your average student, Louisa was still a student and throughout her time at university, she funded her lifestyle through working as an escort.

Louisa highlights “I could afford my studies through my previous career”. However, she admits that prostitution offered her more spare time, “less stress” and more money.

Now, although Louisa is not your typical student, she is not alone as she notes that “there are many other ‘mature’ [student] escorts doing so”.

Louisa, alongside many other student prostitutes in a similar position, is forgotten by the media. Why? Not only because of her age, but because many of these students’ work in the sex industry is a choice, and often one that funds a lifestyle.

She notes that the sex industry, “like any job it has good and bad points.” This is certainly a choice for Louisa, “I have completed my degree and don’t plan on working in that field at all, much preferring to escort for now.“ “Escorting is my profession for now, and hopefully for the next few years.”

Are students really in the sex trade?

Throughout this investigation, it has been uncovered that students are working in the sex trade – which extends further than just prostitution, to include lap dancing, amongst other areas. However, it appears that the number of students feeling pressured into the profession is much less than has been suggested.

Our recent survey in Birmingham found that out of 100 students asked, nearly a quarter knew of a student in the sex industry. Additionally, an investigation in 2009 showed, although varied across the UK, evidence of students turning to the sex trade for money. Westminster University estimated 3–4% of indebted students were earning money in the sex industry, whereas Leeds University Student Union estimated 60% of sex workers in Leeds were students.

But those seeking help for their decision to work in the trade shows little to no evidence. One25, the charity that reaches out to women trapped in sex work, say they “not aware of any students within our client group” and an investigation in 2009 found that out of the 236 institutions not one “reported having a policy on staff or student involvement in commercial sex and none suggested that they had any concerns in this area“.

So why are students choosing employment in the form of prostitution?

Our study of the student/prostitution community has offered insights into the real reasons behind the numbers of student in the sex trade. The focus on funding studies as a primary reason is misplaced, with the reality being students are choosing prostitution to fund a lifestyle.

Research has shown that although “overall the cost of living had gone up by more than 9.5%” on closer examination,  “the breakdown of items within the living cost index” showed that “not many of these areas would be of particular issue to the average student.” In particular, the report notes that “an average food shop had only risen by around 30p” and several household bills “although several not particularly relevant to students had only risen by around £3.00

Additionally, suggesting students are funding their education may be misleading as for the majority of students, they won’t start paying back their loans until they are earning a salary of over £15,000.

So how are students being forced into the industry? Well put simply, it appears they are not. Figures of students in prostitution and the sex trade are certainly difficult completely determine, but the reasons of those who are willing to come forward suggest that their job is a choice and a choice based on wanting more money in their pockets.

Louisa says “I decided to try it out as I really did not enjoy the stress, low pay and bad management I had experienced in a few jobs in my previous career.  I decided to turn escorting into my full time job when I was certain that I could earn a certain amount guaranteed.”

Not alone in this, student and part-time lap-dancer Rachel* saysIf I wanted to live on just my student loan I could have but I didn’t want to. I don’t believe anyone would be forced into it while they’re at uni.” Her choice was made on material needs. “I wanted to have nice things, I needed money for those nice things, I needed a job for the money so I lap danced. It’s as simple as that.

The Issues of prostitution

This investigation has addressed that the sex industry is one that brings controversy, but more importantly, dangers. However, this is a long standing issue to be tackled, not only for the sake of students but for all workers in the sex trade. Some see prostitution as degrading, violent and dangerous, whereas others see the industry as one allowing empowerment and pride in the profession. Whichever side you agree with, unless this industry, one of the oldest in the book, is completely wiped out and illegalised, we can only push for better regulations to protect those people who decide to work in this area.

Investigating Student Prostitution: the truths, myths and issues

Yes, there are students working in not only prostitution, but various areas of the sex trade. However, a sigh of relief may be made as the overriding reason found throughout this investigation is not students funding their education or because these students have been forced into the work. The truth is that the majority of these students have made a job choice that suits their own lifestyle choices. Like Rachel says, “It’s just a job.”

(*names changed to protect anonymity)

Are you a student who has funded a lifestyle rather their education within the sex trade? Let us know your experiences or your views on the investigation into student prostitution by emailing invesitgatestudentprostitution@gmail.com or by commenting below.

Is Student Prostitution a problem of the lower classes?

The occupation of ‘Prostitute’ has long been assosciated with smut, disgrace and low class women. These helpless, often drug abusing women are looking to make a quick buck out of sleazy old rich men, but is this the case? Who is becoming involved in prostitution and why are they turning to such a sordid way of earning money?

The National Union of Students has claimed that the vast majority of students that are being forced to turn to prostitution according to their records have been those taking part in longer courses, such as Medical Science and Veterinary Science. They add that these are often students from a more advantaged background.

A study carried out in Canada by the Canadian Medical Asasociation suggested that students studying Medical Science tended to come from more advantaged background, their parents tended to have professional highly paid jobs and they tended to be from White, Chinese or Indian heritage.

This suggests that the students that are turning to prostitution to make ends meet have hailed from particularly well off families. Are they shocked by the transition to living on their own and struggling to maintain the lifestyle to which they have become acostom?

Has the desire to look after themselves driven them to sex work?

The image of the conventional sterotypical prostitute is definitely evolving but in to what?

A posh naive medical student with a taste for caviar and designer handbags?

What do you think? Let us know : @investigatesp

Student Prostitution: Tuition fees, Living costs, Charities, Myth?

Student prostitution is continually reported as being a massive issue that needs urgent government attention. Students are apparently being forced into the sex industry against their will, but are they?

The rise in student prostitution has been blamed on a simultaneous rise in tuition fees and living costs however recent research suggests this not to be the case.

Tuition Fees 

Tuition fees have risen in 2012 to £9,000 from around £3,000, however students won’t actually feel the impact of this until well after they leave their studies.

Students will need to earn over £21,000 a year before they even begin to pay back their loan and it has been calculated that students would have to earn over £41,000 for 30 years if they wish to completely pay back their loans at all.

Living Costs

After looking in-depth at the living costs that would affect students in 2012 it is apparent that the actual rise in living costs is relatively small. Closer to 3% rather than the 5% that has been reported in the press.

Charities

Charities set up to help prostitutes and people within the sex industry have also failed to report an increase in student prostitution. One25, a prostitution charity set up in Bristol have reported that they haven’t encountered any students accessing their facilities at all. 

Students themselves

However a recent survey has suggested that almost a quarter of students at a Birmingham University admitting to knowing a fellow student that works within the sex industry. Suggesting that students aren’t being forced in to prostitution and are in fact electing to sell their body.

Students, having recently left home and the shelter of family life are in fact looking for a quick and easy way to make money. Something that won’t take too much time away from their social life and studies but will fund the life style that they have become a custom to whilst living at home. Prostitution is simply the job that has filled this need for a fast income and rise in living fees and tuition have become the obvious but innocent thing to blame.

Do you have an opinion on student prostitution? Why do you think its happening? Is it a problem? Please comment below or contact us at investigatestudentprostitution@gmail.com and let us know what you think.

Are fee rises really to blame? – chart

A clearer presentation of some of the data presented in “Are fee rises really to blame?” as shown below.

Graph displaying differences in prices on items from an average food shop

Graph displaying differences in prices on items from an average food shop
(click for larger image)

This chart focuses primarily on the change in prices of items included in food shopping as some of the other payments mentioned (i.e. mortgage) are unlikely to be relevant towards students.

From this chart there is no clear rise nor fall in price on food. In fact as stated in the table here, overall there is a decrease in overall cost of thirty-five pence.